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Old 09-27-2021, 05:35 PM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,967
Lots of good thinking here.

Ski Trails and Bike Trails are definitely different animals, and specific to the equipment.

But I think the article was trying to be about hiking trails.

A key thing to remember: The "wilderness" is defined as being untrammeled by the works of man. The "trail" is by definition a work of man. So the trail is NOT part of the wilderness. It's easy to forget that, because the trail is often surrounded by wilderness, but it is NOT part of it. So applying "wilderness" thinking to the trail itself will result in the poor outcomes that we see today (this confusion is a big part of why DEC has done such a lousy job of trail work for decades).

You are exactly right that the actual "environmental" impact of trails is nil. The woods is huge; the trails are tiny. All of the "impact" that greenies wring their hand over is aesthetic impact, NOT environmental impact. So let's make the trail aesthetically attractive. This is done most effectively by using durable man made materials (like pressure treated staircases, for example) not by chopping mile long switchbacks into the woods.
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